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Sebelius On Bill Clinton's Visit, The U.S. Senate Race

Former President Bill Clinton stopped in North Las Vegas this week in place of Hillary Clinton, who was home sick with pneumonia. 

 

Review Journal columnist Steve Sebelius is with us to weigh in on that, some other local races and more.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

On Bill Clinton’s visit:

He gave a lot of the standard stump speech. He told people, ‘Do you want to choose hope over fear? We want to choose bridges over walls.' He talked a lot about the campaign being sort of like road rage. And instead of putting pedal to the metal and careening down the highway, it is time to pull the car over and think about things rather than indulge that road rage.

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I found it most interesting when he said, ‘Listen, Trump tells you he’s going to make America great again, and for men of a certain age, especially white southern men, I know what that means,’ hinting that there was a dark racial component behind Donald Trump’s Make American Great Again campaign.

What does Bill Clinton’s stop say about the importance of Nevada for this election?

Bill Clinton won the state twice. Bill Clinton was very interested on election night to find out how he had done in Nevada. I think the state has always held a special place in his heart, not only because he won but also because it is a good measurement of the modern electorate. I think he has a finger on his pulse here very much more than other places.

Catherine Cortez Masto has created a website to push back against allegations brought by her opponent Dr. Joe Heck. Is that a good strategy?

Well, I think she has to. I don’t think I have ever seen in all the years I have covered politics – anywhere in this country – but specifically here in Nevada, I don’t think I have seen someone subjected to such a large volume of attacks in such a short period of time.

We all went into this race thinking Catherine Cortez Masto was an honorable attorney general, who did the right thing during her time in office, and now we’re told she was the most corrupt person ever to be in there - craven, self-serving, indifferent to the suffering of other people. It is amazing and for anyone who knows Catherine Cortez Masto you do not recognize her in the attacks that are being levied.

Do you think that people will do their own research about the allegations?

It's difficult, because even if you do that, even if you go online to verify the truth of these ads, it is very difficult to figure out what’s what.

There is an allegation that she didn’t know about a backlog of untested rape kits. There is a person who was quoted in that ad who says, ‘No that’s not true. She is well aware of the issue,’ which is unusual to have someone in an ad refute the ad. The fact of the matter is the attorney general isn’t solely responsible for coming up with the money to test these rape kits. It turns out Catherine Cortez Masto did come up with that money in kind of an unusual way. But when you first see that ad, you think ‘Well, she fell down on the job; she’s not doing her job,’ and that’s not true.

What about her ads against Joe Heck?

Her ads against Joe Heck are nowhere near as vicious. I think we can all agree on that objectively speaking. She landed a couple of good blows basically saying he voted a number of times, I think 10 times, to defund Planned Parenthood. Those votes, it should be kept in mind, are procedural votes. Motions to recommit and things that were staged on Capitol Hill to give them a way to say ‘Congressman X voted against funding for Planned Parenthood.’ But Joe Heck has said he doesn’t think we should fund Planned Parenthood. We should fund community health centers instead, because Planned Parenthood does, with non-federal funds, perform abortions. He is pro-life. He is against that. But that ad is not a vicious attack.

Ruben Kihuen has embraced his support of the Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tax hike to fund education improvements. But that support has been used against him in attack ads?

This is kind of a delightful little irony in this case. There was a super PAC ad that attacked Ruben Kihuen that said, ‘Can you believe that he was actually proud to support the largest tax increase in Nevada history.’

But when [The Kihuen campaign] did their own ad, they said ‘Ruben Kihuen voted for this bevy of education reforms that was paid for by the largest tax increase in state history’ in order to help the children and finally do something about the problem of Nevada being the last in the nation when it comes to education.

Guests

Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist, Host of Politics Now

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